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Con: Red- light cameras cause accidents

By BY DIANNA WRAY
Jan. 30, 2011 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2011 at 7:31 p.m.


DID YOU KNOW?Houston residents voted to remove their red-light cameras in a Nov. 2 referendum. The city turned off its 70 cameras after the vote. The move is now being contested in court, as the city and the company contracted to run the cameras sue each other.

The loss of the cameras also created a budget hole of $10 million for the city, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Port Lavaca resident Carl Baugh went skidding through an intersection in December 2009.

A red-light camera captured the image, and a ticket arrived in his mail box.

While city officials say Port Lavaca's red-light cameras keep people safer, Baugh contends they cause more accidents.

"It's more dangerous with cameras," Baugh said.

Baugh said motorists trying to avoid getting tickets tend to speed through yellow lights, or slam on their brakes.

Either approach is dangerous, he said.

"Besides if this was really about safety, they'd have a camera out at Virginia and 35. There have been way more fatalities there, but they pick the place that has the most traffic," Baugh said. "It's about revenue for the city. That's what it's about."

Port Lavaca resident William King agreed.

King said he has talked to many community members who have gotten more skittish around the intersections, slamming on their breaks or rushing through a yellow light to avoid a ticket.

He also noted that the money collected goes to Redflex, the Australian-based company that monitors the lights.

"That's money going out of our city, our county, our state and our country. That revenue should be staying here," King said.

Baugh agreed, noting that the city pays a monthly fee of the first $5,000 earned per camera to Redflex.

He said the people for the cameras try to make it into an issue of being for or against running red lights, diluting the issue.

"Running red lights is against the law, and it's dangerous and it should be. We're not for people running red lights. We're just against the way they are trying to stop it," King said.

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